Difference Wiki

Adapter vs. Converter: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 29, 2023
An adapter connects different devices or systems without changing their function, while a converter transforms the form, function, or data type of a system.

Key Differences

An adapter is a device or software that allows different hardware or software systems to connect and interact without modifying their original function. A converter, on the other hand, changes one form of something into another, like electrical current or data formats.
In technology, an adapter often refers to physical devices enabling compatibility between different hardware, such as a power plug adapter. Converters, conversely, transform the nature of an input into a different output, like voltage converters.
In software, an adapter might be a design pattern that allows otherwise incompatible interfaces to work together. In contrast, a converter in software might change file formats or data types.
In a broader context, an adapter can be a person who adapts to different environments or situations without altering the essence. A converter, in similar context, refers to someone or something that causes a substantial change in form, nature, or function.
Understanding the context is key; adapters facilitate connectivity or compatibility, while converters are about transformation or change in state, whether in technology, software, or general use.

Comparison Chart


Connects different systems without changing function.
Transforms form or function of a system.

In Technology

Physical device for compatibility (e.g., plug adapter).
Changes input nature (e.g., voltage converter).

In Software

Allows incompatible interfaces to work together.
Changes file formats or data types.

Contextual Use

Facilitates connectivity or compatibility.
Causes substantial change in form or nature.

Metaphorical Use

Person adapting to situations without altering essence.
Person or thing causing significant transformation.

Adapter and Converter Definitions


A device for connecting pieces of equipment that cannot be connected directly.
I used an adapter to connect my European plug into the American socket.


A substance that causes a chemical change in another substance without being changed itself.
In the experiment, the catalyst acted as a converter, speeding up the reaction.


Software that enables incompatible devices or programs to work together.
The adapter in the software allowed the Mac and PC to share files seamlessly.


A device that changes something (like voltage or signal) into a different form.
I used a converter to change the 220V supply to 110V for my laptop.


A person who adapts a text to make it suitable for filming, broadcasting, or the stage.
She is a talented adapter, turning classic novels into engaging scripts.


Someone who changes or persuades others to change their beliefs or way of living.
His persuasive speech acted as a converter, influencing many to adopt healthier lifestyles.


Someone who adapts to new conditions or environments easily.
As an adapter, he quickly adjusted to the new country's culture.


Software that changes data from one format to another.
The video converter software helped me change the MOV file to an MP4 format.


An attachment that enables something to be used in a different way.
The camera adapter allowed me to use a vintage lens on my modern DSLR.


A part of a car's exhaust system that reduces toxic gases and pollutants.
The mechanic replaced the damaged catalytic converter in my car.


One that adapts, such as a device used to effect operative compatibility between different parts of one or more pieces of apparatus.


A furnace in which pig iron is converted into steel by the Bessemer process.


See expansion card.


A machine that converts electric current from one kind to another.


What is an adapter?

An adapter is a device or software that allows for the connection of two different systems without altering their original function.

Can an adapter change the voltage of an electrical device?

No, an adapter typically does not change voltage; it adapts physical connections.

Is a travel plug an adapter or a converter?

A travel plug is an adapter, as it allows different plug types to fit into foreign outlets without changing the electricity.

Does a converter change the data type in software?

Yes, a converter in software can change data types or file formats.

Are adapters used in networking?

Yes, in networking, adapters connect different types of networks or devices.

Can a converter be used in chemical processes?

Yes, in chemistry, a converter can refer to a substance that causes a chemical change.

Do converters play a role in environmental protection?

Yes, converters like catalytic converters in cars reduce environmental pollution.

Are adapters expensive?

Adapters vary in price, but many are relatively inexpensive.

What is a converter?

A converter is a device, software, or substance that transforms the form, function, or data type of a system.

Is an adapter useful in adapting software interfaces?

Yes, software adapters help make different software systems work together.

Can a converter be used to convert currencies?

Yes, in a metaphorical sense, a currency converter changes one type of currency into another.

Can converters be used in video processing?

Yes, video converters change one video format to another.

Can converters help in file compression?

Yes, some converters can compress files into smaller formats.

Can converters be used in audio format changes?

Yes, audio converters change audio files from one format to another.

Do converters need energy to work?

Some converters, like electrical ones, need energy to transform the input.

Are adapters universally compatible?

Not always; adapters are designed for specific compatibility needs.

Are there wireless adapters?

Yes, wireless adapters allow devices to connect to wireless networks.

Do adapters affect the quality of the connection?

Good quality adapters should not noticeably affect connection quality.

Are there online converters for various tasks?

Yes, many online tools offer conversion services for different formats and data types.

Can adapters be used in audio equipment?

Yes, adapters are used to connect different types of audio equipment.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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